Gater v. Sullivan et al
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER re: 10 PRO SE MOTION plaintiff's 1983 claim should be stayed until the underlying criminal charges pending against plaintiff be resolved filed by Plaintiff Jerry Lee Gater. IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff's mo tion to extend the stay indefinitely [Doc. #10] is DENIED without prejudice. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that plaintiff shall show cause within thirty (30) days of the date of this Memorandum and Order why this case should not be either reopened or dismiss ed in its entirety given the culmination of the charges against plaintiff in State v. Gater, Case No. 14SO-CR01691-01 (Scott County Court). IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that plaintiff's failure to respond to this Memorandum and Order will result in a dismissal of this case without prejudice. (Response to Court due by 6/29/2015.) Signed by District Judge Stephen N. Limbaugh, Jr on 5/28/15. (CSG)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
JERRY LEE GATER,
BOBBY SULLIVAN, et al.,
No. 1:15CV0003 SNLJ
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court on plaintiff’s motion to “keep this matter before the
Court.” The Court will interpret plaintiff’s motion as one to maintain the current stay in this case
The Court entered the stay and administrative closure in this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action on
February 6, 2015 on its own motion. In this action, plaintiff seeks damages against two police
officers of the Sikeston, Missouri Police Force, as well as the Judge presiding over his criminal
case in Scott County, Missouri, pursuant to ' 1983 for allegedly searching his home and
arresting plaintiff without sufficient probable cause or without a viable search warrant in
violation of plaintiff=s constitutional rights.
Initially, plaintiff filed this claim while the underlying criminal case against him
stemming from his arrest was still pending in the state courts.
See State v. Gater, Case No.
14SO-CR01691-01 (Scott County Court). The Court enjoined the present action pursuant to the
doctrines espoused in the Supreme Court case of Wallace v. Kato, 549 U.S. 384 (2007).
In Wallace, the United States Supreme Court held that Athe statute of limitations upon a
' 1983 claim seeking damages for a false arrest and/or false imprisonment in violation of the
Fourth Amendment, where the arrest is followed by criminal proceedings, begins to run at the
time the claimant is detained pursuant to legal process.@ 549 U.S. at 397. The Court also
instructed that where, as here, Aa plaintiff files a false arrest claim before he has been convicted
. . . it is within the power of the district court, and in accord with common practice, to stay the
civil action until the criminal case or the likelihood of a criminal case is ended.@ Id., 549 U.S. at
393-94. Otherwise, the court and the parties are left to Aspeculate about whether a prosecution
will be brought, whether it will result in conviction, and whether the impending civil action will
impugn that verdict . . . all this at a time when it can hardly be known what evidence the
prosecution has in its possession.@ Id. (internal citation omitted).
The Court further ordered the
stay due to the possibility that a conviction in plaintiff’s criminal case could bar plaintiff=s claims
in this action pursuant to the principles of Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 486-87 n.6 (1994).
Plaintiff states in his motion that his Scott County case was transferred to New Madrid
County and then “dismissed” after he was indicted in federal court in the Eastern District of
Missouri, Southeastern Division in Case No. 1:15CR52. Plaintiff does not detail the facts as they
relate to his new federal case or whether they mirror those in the original Scott County case.
As the Court’s original order relative to the stay in this case related to the criminal
charges in the Scott County case and those charges have since been dismissed, the Court sees no
reason to allow this case to remain stayed on this Court’s docket indefinitely. As such, the Court
will require plaintiff to show cause, within thirty (30) days of the date of this Memorandum and
Order why this case should not be either reopened or dismissed in its entirety since the Scott
County case has been resolved.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff’s motion to extend the stay indefinitely [Doc.
#10] is DENIED without prejudice.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that plaintiff shall show cause within thirty (30) days of
the date of this Memorandum and Order why this case should not be either reopened or
dismissed in its entirety given the culmination of the charges against plaintiff in State v. Gater,
Case No. 14SO-CR01691-01 (Scott County Court).
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that plaintiff’s failure to respond to this Memorandum
and Order will result in a dismissal of this case without prejudice.
Dated this 28th
day of May, 2015.
STEPHEN N. LIMBAUGH, JR.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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